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Removing Doubts Concerning Verses of Jihad in Quran - Does Islam force Non-Muslims to Accept Islam -Part 1

By Kamal Mustafa Azhari, New Age Islam

(Translated from Urdu by

 Doubt 1: Does Islam force Non-Muslims to Accept Islam?

Main points discussed in part 1

Islam does not incite terrorism

One cannot become a believer under pressure because faith is the matter of the heart

Islam does not allow anyone to force any non-Muslim to accept Islam

The Early Muslims wilfully accepted Islam by risking their lives and property

Hazrat Safwan b. Umayyah converted to Islam under the right to freedom of religion after the conquest of Makkah


In the name of Allah, the Most Merciful and the Most Gracious!

Dear readers! In this age of tribulation, some people from among us and others are making evil attempts to injure and trample on the sanctity and dignity of Islam and to cast doubt in the hearts and minds of the people regarding the original sources of Islam. Until now, the denial of the hadith of the Prophet (peace be upon him) used to be fitna and now an attempt is being made to attack the original source of Islam itself, that is the Holy Quran. In these critical times, we need to adhere to the Qur'an and Sunnah.

The beloved Prophet (peace be upon him) has already predicted about such situations:

Translation of the hadith “I am leaving behind two things among you; you will never go astray as long as you hold fast on to them i.e. the Quran and Sunnah” (Imam Malik, Muwatta, 2/899)

The doubts and suspicions created regarding Islam will be presented to you in this series of the article along with their rebuttals so as to remove the doubts. 

Doubt No. 1: Does Islam force non-Muslims to convert to Islam?

Some enemies of Islam create suspicion in the hearts of ignorant, naïve and gullible people that the religion of Islam oppresses and compels the followers of other religions to accept Islam. They claim that Islam commands jihad, without any reason, against those who do not want to enter into Islam and that there are several verses of the Holy Quran that promote terrorism. !!!!!!!! (Al-Amaan wal Hafeez, May Allah protect us from such misunderstanding about Islam).

This erroneous suspicion is refuted for the following four reasons with the evidence of the Qur'an and Sunnah:

1.    This is an unjustifiable accusation against the purity of Islam. This fact is clear for every rational person that faith exists only in the heart and is the name of a firm intention and belief of one’s heart without any coercion. Thus one cannot become a believer and faithful under pressure and compulsion.

Islam does not allow unjustified coercion in order to bring a human individual under its domain, as the Qur'an itself declares:

“There is no compulsion in the Deen (Religion). The right course has become clear from the wrong.”  (2:256)

Islam teaches the entire mankind to worship only Allah Almighty because He is the Creator and Owner of all worlds and not to associate any partner with Him. This is the purpose of human life. The Creator of the universe says:

“O mankind! Worship your Lord, Who has created you and those before you, in the hope of attaining piety.” (2:21)

“And worship Allah and do not ascribe any partner to Him, and be good to parents, and to relatives, and orphans, and the needy, and the related neighbour and the unrelated neighbour, and the close companion and the traveller; and your bondwomen; indeed Allah does not like any boastful, proud person” (4:36)

Islam is an enlightened religion whose arguments make its truthfulness clear and unambiguous, so there is no need for anyone to be forced for accepting Islam, that is, the act of believing is based on eternal bliss. Allah enlightens the heart of the one whom He guides and illuminates his insight. Only he who is endowed with divine help will be able to be guided and to believe.

When Allah Almighty blinds a person's heart and casts a veil over his hearing and sight, then that person cannot be converted to Islam, even by way of force. Allah Almighty says,

“And whomever Allah leaves astray - there will be for him no guide.” (13:33)

Speaking to his beloved Prophet (peace be upon him) Allah Almighty said in the Quran,

“And had your Lord willed, those on earth would have believed - all of them entirely. Then, [O dear Prophet], would you compel the people in order that they become believers?” (10:99)

In this holy verse, Allah Almighty reassured His Beloved Prophet (peace be upon him) because the beloved Prophet wanted all people to believe and embrace the religion of Islam. Despite his efforts, all the people did not embrace Islam. So Allah Almighty asked His prophet not to feel grief for those who did not embrace Islam, for the people eternally deprived of faith, will not believe. Allah Almighty said,

“…your duty is no more than to convey the message, and it is for Us to make a reckoning” (13:40)

In another verse Allah says,

“Had Allah so willed, He would have made you all one single community. However, He lets go astray whomsoever He wills and shows the Right Way to whomsoever He wills. Surely you shall be called to account regarding what you did.” (16:93)

Imam Baghawi comments on this verse and says, “(Had Allah so willed, He would have made you all one single community). Here single community refers to Islam.” (Tafsir-e-Baghawi, Commentary under the verse 16:93)

2.    The Prophet, the mercy for all worlds (peace be upon him), stayed in Makkah for five years and called the people to the path of Allah and worship Him alone. Many people accepted his invitation during that period when the prophet did not have the power to force or pressure on them to convert to Islam.


3.    In the matter of faith, it is necessary to have perfect faith, because the one who is compelled will soon find a weak cause and go away. Here the fact is that the early Muslims voluntarily accepted Islam with the sincere passion of sacrificing their lives and property for the sake of Islam.



4.    There are many instances in the biography of the Prophet (peace be upon him) that he did not force the polytheists to convert to Islam in spite of his power over them later. But rather, the Prophet endowed them with freedom of religion to think and understand Islam.

It is important to cite an example here to support the argument that Islam does not force anyone to accept Islam. This example is related to how Hazrat Safwan b. Umayyah's converted to Islam. On the occasion of the conquest of Makkah, Safwan decided to throw himself into the sea to die therein. Hazrat Umayr b. Wahab said to the Prophet (peace be upon him), “O Prophet of Allah: Safwan b. Umayyah, the chief of the infidels, has run away from you to kill himself in the water. O Messenger of Allah, grant him peace and security. The Prophet said, “He is safe”. Eventually, Umayr b. Wahab intercepted Safwan and informed him of the safe conduct and brought him to the Prophet (peace be upon him). Safwan b. Umayyah requested the Prophet to grant him two months to consider his options and think about Islam. The prophet said, "You might have four months for that". It is reported that later he himself embraced Islam under the right to freedom of religion. (Seerat-e-Ibn Hisham: 417/2]

Dear readers!

Islam is the religion of peace. Its name is derived from Salam itself (peace and security). How can it oppress someone without any reason?

From the above evidence, it has become clear that Islam does not force a non-Muslim to become a Muslim without any reason. But rather people themselves, in every age, embrace Islam, observing its truthfulness.


Mustafa Kamal Azhari, the son of a popular Sunni debator Allama Sagheer Ahmad Jokhanpuri, is a classical Islamic scholar (Aalim and Fazil). Presently he is doing research work in the Faculty of Theology at Al-Azhar University, Cairo, Egypt. 

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